Canine Custody: Who Gets The BowWow in the Breakup?

Tips on removing emotion when puppy love fades and Fido needs a forever home.

By Ava Agata Gorecki

Canine Custody who keeps the dog in the breakup?

You took the Apple TV, the bed and the penguin-shaped ice cube trays. He took the couch, the Japanese chef knives and the X-Files poster. Well, what about the dog? As appealing as applying the Judgement of Solomon sounds, I think we can all agree the dog will be better off left intact and, really, the best option can only be determined on a case-by-case scenario.

Breaking up isn’t easy to begin with. With wiping all existence of each other off social media being a daunting task in itself, divvying up your accumulated property and the love of your furry friend is sure to be added heartache.

Once the anger and the hurt have slightly subsided and you’re onto acceptance, put your big-kid panties on and get to work planning the guardianship agreement. Sadly, an arm wrestle isn’t going to solve this one.

The dog’s best interests should be kept in mind when deciding its fate. Let’s begin with the obvious questions we need to ask ourselves:

Who is more financially inclined to care for the little whippersnapper?

Who has the time and the lifestyle to meet its needs?

Who has the rental that allows dogs?

Are there children/other pets involved, and if so, is the dog attached to them?

Do you still want to see each other’s stupid faces to exchange custody if you choose to share?

Who needs the dog most for emotional support?

This last one is more selfish than anything, but it does help to have man’s best-friend there when you’re ugly-crying to a Dove soap commercial.

If you have reached a stalemate and are going to take your insignificant other to face the wrath of the honorable Judge Judy, keep in mind that even though we canine lovers know that dogs are sentient beings, the law sees them as property, just as much as your Last Supper shower curtain. So solving this matter in a court of law may not be the best solution. And if it comes to being the final solution, well, may the odds be ever in your favor.

Your dog will need some time to readjust to its new surroundings and lifestyle. Plenty of affectionate snuggles, special treats and extra attention can benefit its emotional well-being. Keeping things civil when interacting in front of your pup is extremely important as it is very sensitive to stressful situations. It has been suggested that bringing along an article of clothing, such as an old t-shirt worn by your former flame can help with the potential grief your pooch may feel. The better you are able to minimize the disruption and maintain a stable routine, the smoother the transition to its new circumstances will be.

Though none of us want to see our relationship coming to a car-crash end, and you guys are the most in love EVER right now, it is a good idea to have a lighthearted what-if discussion before you bolt into pet ownership. And it’s okay to re-visit that agreement from time to time to see if the circumstances still allow for the original terms. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst is what my momma always says.

We have photo evidence that dogs love playing poker, but don’t use him as a bargaining chip to benefit you. In the end it’s only that little fur baby that has to deal with the consequences.

Be an adult, don’t be weird.